United States District Court, S.D. Florida
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION ON CHANGE OF PLEA
JACQUELINE BECERRA, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
CAUSE was before the Court following an Order of Reference to
conduct a proceeding for acceptance of a guilty plea by
Defendant in this case. Based upon the change of plea hearing
conducted on December 5, 2019, this Court makes the following
findings, and recommends that the guilty plea be accepted.
Court advised Defendant of his right to have these
proceedings conducted by the District Judge assigned to the
case, and that this Court was conducting the change of plea
hearing pursuant to an Order of Reference from the District
Court. This Court further advised Defendant that the District
Judge assigned to this case would be the sentencing judge and
would make all findings and rulings concerning
Defendant's sentence. This Court advised Defendant that
he did not have to permit the undersigned United States
Magistrate Judge to conduct this hearing and could request
that the change of plea hearing be conducted by the District
Judge assigned to the case. Defendant, Defendant's
attorney, and the Assistant United States Attorney all
consented on the record to this Court conducting the change
of plea hearing.
Court conducted a plea colloquy in accordance with the
outline set forth in the Bench Book for District Judges, and
in accordance with Fed. R. Crim. P. 11.
Defendant pled guilty to Count 1 of the Indictment which
charged Defendant with possession with intent to distribute
five kilograms or more of cocaine, while on board a vessel
subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, in
violation of Title 46, United States Code, Sections
70503(a)(1) and 70506(b). The Court advised Defendant that as
to that charge there is a statutory minimum mandatory
sentence of ten years imprisonment and a maximum sentence of
life imprisonment, followed by a supervised release period of
at least five years and up to life; a fine of up to $10, 000,
000.00; and a mandatory special assessment of $100.00.
Defendant was also advised of the possibility of forfeiture.
Defendant acknowledged that he understood the possible
maximum penalties that could be imposed in the case.
set forth the factual basis for the entry of the plea,
Defendant and the Government submitted a written Factual
Proffer. The Factual Proffer, also read by the Government at
the hearing, established all the essential elements of the
crime to which Defendant is pleading guilty. Defendant
acknowledged that the Factual Proffer was accurate.
There is a written plea agreement which has been entered into
by the parties in this case. This Court reviewed that plea
agreement on the record and Defendant acknowledged that he
understood the terms of the plea agreement and that he had
signed the plea agreement.
Defendant also waived his right to appeal his sentence unless
the government files an appeal, and/or his sentence: (1)
exceeds the maximum permitted by statute, (2) is the result
of an upward departure; or (3) variance from the guideline
range that the Court establishes at sentencing. In addition,
the undersigned finds that Defendant's waiver of his
right to appeal his sentence in this case is knowing and
Based upon all of the foregoing and the plea colloquy
conducted by this Court, the undersigned finds that Defendant
is fully competent and capable of entering an informed plea,
that Defendant is aware of the nature of the charges and the
consequences of the plea, and that the plea of guilty is a
knowing and voluntary plea supported by an independent basis
in fact containing each of the essential elements of the
Therefore, the undersigned recommends that Defendant be found
to have freely and voluntarily entered his guilty plea to
Count 1 of the Indictment filed in this case, as more
particularly described herein, and that Defendant be
adjudicated guilty of that offense.
pre-sentence investigation report is being prepared for the
District Court by the United States Probation Office. The
sentencing date is February 20, 2020, at 2:00 p.m.
Defendant is in custody and will remain in custody until the
parties were also instructed to immediately notify the
Chambers of Chief Judge K. Michael Moore if the sentencing in